Patriots announce their UDFA class

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Patriots announce their UDFA class

FOXBORO - With rookie mini-camp starting Friday morning, the Patriots have announced their undrafted rookie free agent group.

According to the release sent by the team they are:

RB Brandon Bolden, 22, finished his college career at Mississippi ranked second in school history in total touchdowns (33) and rushing touchdowns (27) and fourth in rushing yards (2,604). Bolden, 5-11, 215 pounds, played in 10 games with four starts in 2011 and totaled 96 carries for 462 yards and four touchdowns while serving as a team captain.

DL Marcus Forston, 22, was limited to three games last season at Miami due to an injury. Forston, 6-3, 300 pounds, played in 13 games with 12 starts in 2010 and registered 37 total tackles, 3.0 sacks and one interception.

DE Justin Francis, 23, appeared in 12 games in 2011 at Rutgers and tallied 60 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, one interception and five passes defensed. Francis, 6-4, 275 pounds, appeared in seven games as a true freshman in 2007 before being redshirted in 2008.

TE Brad Herman, 22, played in 12 games with three starts as a senior at Iowa last year, finishing with eight catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Herman, 6-5, 255 pounds, was a four-year letter winner at Iowa.

WR Matt Roark, 22, appeared in all 12 games as a senior at Kentucky and finished with a career-high 36 receptions for 349 yards and his first career touchdown. Roark, 6-5, 214 pounds, led Kentucky to its first win over Tennessee since 1984 when he filled in at quarterback and completed four-of-six passes for 15 yards and rushed 24 times for 140 yards.

OL Jeremiah Warren, 24, started the final 38 games of his career at South Florida at guard. Warren, 6-4, 329 pounds, was named to the All-Big east second-team as a senior after starting all 12 games at guard.

T Markus Zusevics, 23, started at right tackle as a junior and senior at Iowa. Zusevics, 6-5, 300 pounds, was named honorable mention All-Big ten as a senior.

Bolden is an intriguing player given he's following the same path BenJarvus Green-Ellis did. Green-Ellis was undrafted out of Ole Miss like Bolden and had a terrific run as a short-yardage, between-the-tackles back who could make the yards in front of him, protect the ball and always make positive yards.

With Green-Ellis signing with the Bengals this offseason, the 5-11, 222-pound Bolden has a chance but he'll have to beat out Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Joseph Addai.

The Patriots liked Warren enough to work him out personally the week before the draft and Zusevics is well regarded as well.

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

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The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability. 
 

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

Josh McDaniels will be staying put in New England, he said on Monday, because that's what's best for him and his family at this point in time. 

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The Patriots offensive coordinator was a front-runner for the open head-coaching job in San Francisco but has removed his name from consideration.

"I was really impressed with [Niners owner and CEO] Jed York and [Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations] Praag [Marathe] and [Director of Football Administration and Analytics] Brian [Hampton] and the people that came from the 49ers organization. They did a great job with their presentation. Again, humbled to be included in that process.

"At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

Next season will be McDaniels' sixth full season back with the Patriots since returning during the playoffs of the 2011 season.

"I've always said how grateful I am to have this opportunity to work here with Mr. Kraft and his family, and coach under Bill with a lot of great guys on our staff, and to have the privilege to get to work with the players that we work with each day," McDaniels said. "It's a great opportunity. I'm very thankful to be here, and very much looking forward to this week against Pittsburgh."